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How I Deal with Stress as a Person with Schizophrenia

StressI’m no stranger to stress. Having lived with schizophrenia for ten years I can tell you there have numerous times when the amount of stress I was having was causing me to experience things which were outside the scope of reality.

That’s the thing about stress for people with mental illness, it’s like a light switch that when pushed to extremes can trigger everything from paranoia to delusions to hallucinations all under the banner of psychosis.

All said, stress is not a good thing for people with mental illness.

These past few months I’ve seen a fair share of frustration and complications, I’ve been dealing with a lot so this article is especially pertinent to me at this point in time.

I did several things to deal with it though. It took me getting delusions that I was receiving messages from people on the internet and feeling like I was going crazy for me to finally realize that I was doing too much.

It’s an extremely tenuous balance that you have to be extremely cognizant of if you’re living with a mental illness. Here’s what I did, and maybe it can help you too.

First, I restructured and completed in advance all of the work I have to do for the next few months. This may not be a reality for you, but as a writer I’m obligated to a certain number of articles a month. I took a few days and did a surplus of them so I’d have enough for two or three months while I took the time to focus on my mental health. Essentially, I structured in a break for myself. Sometimes it’s necessary to do that and I know there are many workaholics out there who could take the initiative to schedule a break for themselves. This left me with a large block of time to have the freedom to do nothing if I so choose and that freedom is essential to reducing the amount of stress that can pile up on your shoulders.

The next thing I did was remove myself from superfluous social media. I had four social media accounts that I was trying my best to keep up with and I quit everything besides facebook. The instantaneous stress relief I felt from just that act alone was transformative. I felt like I was able to take a breath for the first time in a while.

I don’t know why social media is so stressful to me, but maintaining a spotless persona that’s outside the realm of perfectly imperfect reality is something that I don’t think feels natural for anyone.

Lastly, I took a few days to unwind from everything that I was doing I literally just sat and watched Netflix, ate good food and slept for three days.

It was very needed. It was a vacation in the midst of compounding pressure and everybody needs a vacation like that from time to time. Essentially what it all comes down to is treating yourself well and being cognizant of the things that cause you stress and cutting and trimming the fat wherever it needs to be trimmed.

I think we would all do well to take stock of things from time to time. It certainly helps.

How I Deal with Stress as a Person with Schizophrenia

Michael Hedrick

Mike Hedrick is a writer and photographer in Boulder, CO. He has lived with schizophrenia for many years and his work has been published in Salon, Scientific American and The New York Times. His book is available here You can follow his blog on living with schizophrenia here

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2018). How I Deal with Stress as a Person with Schizophrenia. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 14 Feb 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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